Unfortunately rather little to report from the second half of this month again as not much fishing took place. The Northwest kept blowing nearly throughout and also the rains common for this time of the year have set in. Not the most motivating scenario for the rather few tourists around. Olle and Sanna from Sweden who I had been in touch with for months prior to their visit were still eager though for a day`s jigging at the DropOff and another one popping for GTs but slowly ran out of time. Thus in far from ideal conditions on the 18th we headed out with Mervin on Divinity and it went reasonably well. Next to two baby GTs caught between them Sanna unfortunately lost a nice size one of qround 40kg not far from the boat. Of the handful other specimen raised only one hooked up but with this one of about 23kg fulfilled Olle`s dream of a proper GT.
The forecast was slightly better for the next day so out again, this time to the Drop for jigging. Conditions were okay around noon but before and after really rough and rainy. As so often the bite was red hot on the shallows but we did not see the usual mix of species as the Jobfish were just too many. Some of them coming up were followed by Doggies in good sizes but these showed now determination. The variation came in deeper waters of 60 to 120m. Next to Groupers and a lonely Yelowfin Tuna a handful of Amberjacks and also a very large Rainbow Runner surfaced. All in all it must have been around 40 fish caught that day. So while still a bit below par not bad all in all and the two very nice anglers were happy with the experience.
Apart from that very little happened. A few boats had a small handful of trolling trips between them and reported different mixed bags of Bonitos, Tuna, Dorados and Wahoos along with the odd Sailfish. Bigger boats on Mahe also went a few times. Special K reported Sailfish and the large 60ft Viking Island Star had three of those plus two Marlin released in 5 days. My personal fishing also was limited to next to none unfortunately. Just too risky to go out on the small boat in such weather, especially alone. Some point I had to run it a bit though and in the afternoon of the 23rd it seemed just acceptable. Not to too much of a result though fishing around a small low tide. Working the two only accessible spots that occasionally produce a GT for an hour each only raised a few Garfish. On one of these spots and also in the La Digue Channel tried later the sonar showed plenty fish for jigging but the bite was slow. Only late after the tide had turned the Jobfish came to life and I bagged a few for the kitchen. Before that it was hard work to catch the odd small Grouper. So I was quite surprised to suddenly find two of those on my jig. Must have been just married.
The following days were very windy and rainy, I did not hear of any fishing activity. Last Saturday I went to Mahe for a short weekend and took the fly gear along to check out a few spots. Had time for two short stints and one option had been the long reef along the southeast coast. The water looked reasonably calm there but it was raining cats and dogs while the skies looked a bit brighter to the west. So moved over to Anse La Mouche which from the chart I had expected to be protected from those about 14 knots of wind. But I got that wrong, instead it was choppy, murky and full of drifting weeds. On top the water level was a bit too high but I had only two hours left and thus no time left to check elsewhere. Limited the tryout to a small corner of that really large flat where I could at least still see my feet and fished a few edges of weeds to sand and some rocks. Around Praslin such structures about always produce smaller fish while then and there I did not even get a knock. But I know from credible sources that this huge playground is productive and fishing it in the right conditions must be a dream. The afternoon I spent at Marine Charter in Victoria to watch the weigh-in of the annual Marlin Slam Tournament. From the 8 competing boats only 5 returned there eventually, one had reported technical issues and the twothers probably did not catch anything they found worth bringing.
For many years the tournament concept was simply “biggest Marlin takes it all” but this of course resulted in any boat taking even the smallest Marlin as it could have been the only and thus winning one. Two years ago laudably the rules were changed and nowadays only Marlin heavier than 150kg aresupposedto be taken. Smaller ones on the scale produce no points at all while released Billfish do. So the watching crowed was quite surprised to see team Ushaka offload two Marlin that pretty much everyone considered below the 150kg threshold and the seemingly bigger one eventually weighed at 144kg so lost its life for nothing.
Then just to be sure the one that seemed smaller was also weighed and to about everyone`s surprise the scale showed 151.9kg so someone on board must have come up with a very precise estimate – or had a lot of luck. Either way the team fully deserved the tournament win as they had released to more smaller Marlin along the day. Two other boats each released a Marlin and a Sailfish so it was a total of six Marlin between 8 boats. Not bad especially in those conditions. There was surprisingly little bycatch offloaded though.
Of course we saw some Dorados, Wahoos and Tuna but apart from this decent Yellowfin of 44kg also by team Ushaka there was nothing too special. Sunday early afternoon I had three more hours for fly fishing in Port Glaud off the indeed very nice Ephelia Resort. That bay at Anse Illot was relatively protected and clear, only a bit further out the water was choppy. Again I was fishing right after a small high tide so the outed edge of the reef was inaccessible apart from a small corner. And also I could not make it to the very interesting looking channel between the mainland and a tiny island where currently a Russian version of Big Brother is being produced. But still the area I could wade was so vast that I sort of rushed through it to cover as much of it as possible. Pretty much everything on offer there: sandbanks with deeps in between, a somewhat muddier area with feeding craters of presumably Bonefish or Golden Trevallies, weedy stretches and coralline ones – simply fantastic. Unfortunately the light was not really good so the pic (click it to enlarge) does not reveal it all as perfectly as I had wished for.
Most importantly the area holds interesting fish. Spotted a few decent Permit around 2kg and Queenfish of up to 5kg as well as some more shadows I could not identify because they would not let me get close enough. And as usually all these quality fish seemed too smart for me. But not to even catch a small Snapper or Pompano or just get a bite was a surprise. Here on Praslin along maybe 50 tryouts in often much worse conditions I only blanked a single time. Usually it is a few per hour and from all I heard about these two places on mahe it should have been the same there. So either even small Mahe fish are much more clever than on Praslin or tide and timing were just totally wrong. But nevertheless I am already looking forward to a next chance of fishing these spots and Port Glaud seems to be the place of choice offering the best conditions during those nothwesterly winds. How to better was demonstrated by Greg and his guest from Finland fishing around Praslin off Aquatic Dream on Saturday as I learned upon return. Small popping only produced follows so despite the bad conditions the obviouly very skilled anglers changed for their fly rods and fishing became just fantastic: some 20 cool fish caught that way in just 2.5hrs and about all of the many different Trevallies among those.
Maybe I should also give it a try from the boat but for that I first need some sinking line and secondly that annoying weather needs to improve. The days since that weekend were just awful, greay, windy and very wet. Today though we are getting some sun of a change and even the wind has dropped to a level allowing to fish. But being stuck with this report I am left hoping that the good weather will last until tomorrow and I will have a chance to get on the water for whatever as the forecast already predicts to pick up strongly again.
The new year started in a rather disappointing way here in Seychelles as far as fishing is concerned as it was very windy throughout at some 15 knots or so most of the time. Only rarely it dropped a bit but was about never calm enough for any ambitions beyond trolling. Even that part despite good catches an mayn Billfish around was tough. As usually many of those holiday season trips were only half days and too many of those did not even last that long after the guests had had a good second look at their breakfast. On the 3rd it was halfway okay and Greg (Aquatic Dream) fished with a guest who was all out to catch Pelagics on fly. He missed a raised Sailfish and when they did a circle to see if they could find it again this Tuna took.
While that fish was on the Sailfish actually reappeared again at the teaser but the hook was occupied ba that Tuna. Too bad! A few other boats were out too, caught smaller Gamefish in godd numbers and the odd Sailfish. The next day conditions were rougher again but still managable and the Sails showed again. More skittish though but Greg still got and released this one.
Along the next days it was really windy again but a few people tried anyways. But it was tough and any fish like 6 Wahoos caught around some debris by Bertrand (Yam Sing) or a handfulof Tuna by Edwin (Dan Zil) did not come easy. Saturday the 6th it was a bit calmer so I went to finally catch my first fish of the year, pretty much whatever. The boat after having been unattended for a month had acquired some electrical issues so I stayed inshore for safety reasons and just did some light jigging for a few hours. That produced 34 fish with some Green Job and different Groupers like this Moontail.
Also all sorts of Trevallies were around and those Goldens really seem to feel at home there these days. Caught and released four but lost two big ones. One was a real monster that had kept me busy for more than half hour on the small gear just to drop the hook right under the boat. Seldomly sweared that badly and would have preferred to show you that one instead of this average specimen.
Also for the other boats out it had been an action loaded day. Greg lost a big Marlin well over 250kg by the lure flying away during a series of leaps and had plenty bycatch. Mervin (Divinity) lost a smaller one of about 120kg at the Drop but caught massive Wahoos and Dorados while a Sailfish of 40kg had to be boated as it had come liefless to the boat unfortunately. On top he had to sort of force his guest to try a bit of jigging.
After having caught a few Amberjacks and other fish the chap was fully infected and wanted to do more trips for that but the conditions would not allow for it any more. Only for the next morning a few hours of just 6 knots were predicted. So despite the boat`s issues I went out for popping at first light. That early the sea was actually flat calm and the wind completely gone. At the spot the water also was crystal clear for a change and one could see a huge shoal of Yellowspotted Trevallies circling the structure and several big Sharks around those. But it was not feeding time at all. Along the following hours until the wind kicked back in at full strength only a very small Shark came up and took that must have missed the order of keeping mouths shut. From then on apart from a bit of tough trolling nothing was possible again until the 13th. Still very rough that day but after having sorted out the boat there was no holding back. Nearly impossible to fish that small jigging spot in 2.5 knots of current but at least it produced a handful of Jobfish for the kitchen. Also hooked up with two Golden Trevallies once more. No chance to lift the first one in that current though and after a few minutes the hook came out. Just when playing the second in somewhat shallower water Greg passed on his boat and filmed a little with his GoPro. Unfortunately the fish came away when I tried to grab it so here is only a pic from the moment just before disaster struck.
Also worked the two popping spots close to port and raised a smaller GT of about 20kg. That one though just followed the popper right to the boat and then disappeared in the depths. A little later the wind came back in full strength and since there is no thinking of going out. The situation on Mahe was pretty much the same: larger boats did some trips catching well. The huge private 9G reported 2 out of 4 Blue Marlin one day and also Special K and Alati had several Billfish and Marlin on their trips.
And flyfishing? Tried twice despite the wind and lots of drifting weeds. Small fish came in the usual good numbers but nothing bigger was even just to be seen. But a not so small Squid of about 40cm must have fallen in love with my fly and grabbed it ever and ever again right under my nose. Even that it got hooked several times and could not get away despite pushing its jet turbine did not put it off, it just stayed there.
The whole funny show went on for several minutes, watch a short video on facebook if you like. Probably I could have picked it up to turn it into a very decent meal but it was just too cute and thus some point I buggered of with the so admired fly. Hope it did not break its heart. My mental health on the other side is slowly getting at risk if that nagging wind persisting for 7 weeks now is not going to falter soon.
For the preceeding reports check the archive.